HEARTWIND – Higher And Higher (2018)
Hailing from Sweden, HEARTWIND is the creation of two musicians and long time friends, guitarist Goran Engvall (ex-Hitworks) and keyboard player Mikael Rosengren – ex Scudiero, one of my favorite underground AOR band from the ’90s. Their debut CD titled “Higher And Higher” is being released by AOR Heaven Records, and I can see why: Heartwind is pure Scandinavian melodic hard rock inspired by the classic style of the genre, updated to modern times.
The duo composed several songs, and started to shape the line up for what become Heartwind. They drafted several seasoned musicians, including drummer Peter Svensson (Constancia, Faith) and vocalist German Pascual (Narnia, Essence Of Sorrow, et al). Pascual, in turn, got musical mates guitarist Martin Hall (German Pascual band) and bass player Germain Leth (The Poodles, Watchmen) to round out the band.
With no less than three labels having interest in the band, Heartwind signed to Germany’s AOR Heaven for the release of “Higher And Higher”.
The songs within the album have all the marks of classic stuff in this genre: melody and harmony in twin guitars, notable keyboards / synths, clean vocal arrangements, and plenty of groove. But also the guitar lines can be sharp and the rhythm section deep and thundering at places.
Heartwind simply melds these things together using the hooks of tasty melodies and catchy refrains for AOR accessibility.
More edgier rockers come with ‘Cry Out Into Space’ or ‘Ready For The Moonlight’. Other songs, such as ‘Surrounding Me’, ‘Creatures of The Night’ or ‘Don’t Be That Girl’ muddle and mix together the hard rock, melodic hard and AOR for a delicious musical cocktail.
‘Too Late For Roses’ is another winner and a favorite. Featuring Tåve Wanning (Adrenaline Rush) as guest vocalist, the song turns on a groovy rock beat and an uber-catchy chorus.
Another female guest Nina Söderquist (Badrock) duets in the sweet piano driven ballad ‘One Night Away From You’. The addition of the female voices to these tracks really give ‘Higher And Higher’ a boost of class and extra melody.
A large arena anthem filled with killer guitar lines arrives with ‘Your Eyes Cannot Lie’, a midtempo where Pascual voice shine, blurring AOR and melodic hard.
The album ends in full throttle with ‘Game Of Love’, again with female vocals complementing Pascual in great for for a rocker with a certain ’80s Dokken feel.
Heatwind and “Higher And Higher” needs major exposure. These seasoned Swedes have recorded one of the best Melodic Hard Rock albums of the year so far. Believe me.
Great, I mean – great – memorable songs, clever arrangements, smart keyboard work, very good vocals and a crisp production… do you need more?
“Higher And Higher” is fan-damn-tastic release. If you ask me, a Y2K classic in the making.
Don’t miss this one.
01. Higher and Higher
02. Cry Out Into Space
03. Ready for the Moonlight
04. One Night Away From You
05. Surrounding Me
06. Through the Light
07. Too Late for Roses
08. Creatures of the Night
09. Don’t Be That Girl
10. Your Eyes Cannot Lie
11. Game of Love
Germán Pascual – Lead vocals (Narnia)
Mikael Rosengren – Keyboards (Constancia, Token, Scudiero)
Martin Hall – Lead guitars (Germán Pascual band)
Göran Engvall – Lead guitars & backing vocals (Hitworks)
Peter TrumPeter Svensson – Drums (Constancia, Faith)
Germain Leth – Bass (The Poodles, Watchmen)
Tåve Wanning (Adrenaline Rush) – guest vocals on 7, 11
Nina Söderquist (Badrock) – guest vocals on 4